This was probably the most important part of my life as a law student. The irony is, it’s something but law. Faith is probably the last thing that anybody would think about when it comes to studying law. Law uses logic, reason and science to formulate arguments. Faith is the opposite. However, it was particularly helpful for me at law school because when I could never explain some of the events that happened in my life other than my studies. This is not about law books, cases and legislation. It is not about how well you formulate your arguments. This one goes to the core of your being. Perhaps, a test of your inner strength. A strength that is closely related to the reason why I decided to go to law school in the first place. To a great extent, this is influenced by the pressures and expectations of friends and family. If you don’t talk about this part of your student life now, it may be too late things get incredibly tough.
Let me get to the point. There were students that I read about from other universities, both in Australia and overseas, who committed suicide. Their reasons for hurting themselves vary. I am not an expert in this area, nor I purport to sound like one. I am just sharing how I tackled my own issues when I was at my lowest point in my life. And that was during law school. I would be exposing some of my vulnerability here but if this means potentially helping you find your inner strength, then so be it. Please bear with me as I share you this part of my life:
It was during the second half of 2017 and it’s only been a few weeks after the trimester started. Spring has just started. It was my second year of law school and the subjects were getting difficult. They demanded more of my time. Since I was working full-time, I had to adjust my schedule to somehow free up some more time to study. I had to do more research, more readings, more analysis. I felt like my head was going to burst. On top of this, I was also helping a family friend with their business accounts. There was just too much on my plate. I didn’t know how or why I got myself into a lot of commitments. Then I started to wonder what was wrong with me. It got to a point where I started to question the validity of my own existence. I thought about negative thoughts a lot, some of them suicidal. It was difficult, very difficult. There were instances when someone would talk to me and I would go blank, all of a sudden. Someone would talk about a topic that I was interested in and we would interact. Then, the negative thoughts would come in and I would miss parts of the conversation. I became frustrated. It was an endless cycle of negative thoughts that produced negative emotions and I could not get out. I was on the verge of calling it quits (end it all) when I went to visit my brother. I haven’t visited him for a while so at least I felt a little bit better as it was something to look forward to. It was painful at first but it got better as I kept driving. When I got to his place, I told him about what I was going through. We had a good and deep conversation that night. It was one of the most meaningful conversations I had for a long time. He gave me a lot of advice. He said that we all go through pain for a reason. He said that in the end, it is not about ourselves that matters but rather God’s glory. I went to bed with that thought. I got up the next day, still thinking about what my brother said. Then I drove to university to study for the upcoming examinations.
Every time I think about what my brother said, I feel some relief. Knowing that there is someone out there, bigger than me who is in control, gives me a sense of hope. I decided to go for a walk that morning at university, before I opened my books.
While I was walking, I noticed the beauty of the lilies and the sound of the birds that chirped ‘good morning.’ I smelled the fragrance of the flowers and the sunshine on my shoulders made me happy. I began to appreciate these little things in nature which I never used to do.
On the last part of my walk, I decided from that moment on, that I would dedicate all my projects to my Creator, instead of myself. The glory and praises belong to Him, not mine. I spent too much time thinking about me and the work and studies I was doing that I neglected my own spirituality.
From the lowest point when I was about to hurt myself until I emerged from that pit appreciating the beauty of life would not have been possible without the people around me. That’s why it’s important that you have at least two people in your life whom you trust that you know you can talk to about anything. They could be a member of the family or a close friend. In a western society where we are used to trying to figure out things ourselves, sometimes it is difficult to reach out to other people for help. And we don’t realise that our friends and family are more than willing to help if we just reach out to them. Sometimes, we just need to make the first move.
This whole experience made me realise one very important thing – that I am just a vessel of someone or something bigger than myself. That person could be God. That something could be your purpose. And because I am just a vessel, the main cargo is more important. I need to get it to its destination. I don’t have to worry about what I was going through because it is necessary to achieve the destination or purpose. However, it is important to note that purpose is not always to finish law school or to be the best lawyer in town. For all you know, going to law school is just the first step for a greater purpose that has been prepared for you. That is one of the mysteries of life: that we don’t really know the future. That no matter how certain we are on the path that we are treading on now, we can never be sure that it would be the same path that we will end up with.
The moment you realise your life has a purpose, you start living. As cliché as it sounds but the battle is won even before it has begun if you have the right mindset.
Assure yourself that whatever happens with your university results or marks, that they will all work out for good in the overall scheme of things. Failure is not the end of the world. You can retake the unit. Don’t dwell in failures for a long time. Acknowledge that you may have fallen short in some areas of your study and you are willing to improve.